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What's with the AMEX Obsession?

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What's with the AMEX Obsession?

I guess what I'm looking for is a rational discussion on why everyone is so obsessed with having an American Express product?  From reading many different users posts and reviews on the AMEX site itself, they seem to be a very finicky company to have to deal with.  If they were a person it they would come across as bi-polar.

 

I've seen numerous reports or concerns about:

 

*  Credit Limit Decreases for carrying a reasonable balance, even on 0% promotions

*  Credit Limit Decreases chasing a balance (meaning if you pay down a balance, they reduce the limit to just over that balance keeping UTIL high)

*  Financial Reviews for whatever reason

*  Customer Service disappointments (rude, foreign call centers, etc)

*  High AF on Charge Cards and some Revolvers (Other than credit building, I don't understand why anyone would want a charge card with an annual fee?????)

*  Less acceptance than VISA/MC

 

Granted, they do offer:

 

*  Significant CLI

*  Backdating

 

But, what's the obsession if everyone seems to always be on their toes fearing AA from AMEX?  It can't be the prestige factor anymore, I think you can get that from several other banks now.

 

I"m not against having an AMEX product, but I don't want to deal with worrying what AMEX thinks of my healthy spending/payment habits.  For example, I've heard rumor they don't like multiple montly payments.....or see increased risk with spending at discount stores.   Whether true or not, the fact that there are rumors like this proves my point.  

 

Thoughts?

Message 1 of 62
61 REPLIES 61
New Member

Re: What's with the AMEX Obsession?


@fittiger wrote:

I guess what I'm looking for is a rational discussion on why everyone is so obsessed with having an American Express product?  From reading many different users posts and reviews on the AMEX site itself, they seem to be a very finicky company to have to deal with.  If they were a person it they would come across as bi-polar.

 

I've seen numerous reports or concerns about:

 

*  Credit Limit Decreases for carrying a reasonable balance, even on 0% promotions

*  Credit Limit Decreases chasing a balance (meaning if you pay down a balance, they reduce the limit to just over that balance keeping UTIL high)

*  Financial Reviews for whatever reason

*  Customer Service disappointments (rude, foreign call centers, etc)

*  High AF on Charge Cards and some Revolvers (Other than credit building, I don't understand why anyone would want a charge card with an annual fee?????)

*  Less acceptance than VISA/MC

 

Granted, they do offer:

 

*  Significant CLI

*  Backdating

 

But, what's the obsession if everyone seems to always be on their toes fearing AA from AMEX?  It can't be the prestige factor anymore, I think you can get that from several other banks now.

 

I"m not against having an AMEX product, but I don't want to deal with worrying what AMEX thinks of my healthy spending/payment habits.  For example, I've heard rumor they don't like multiple montly payments.....or see increased risk with spending at discount stores.   Whether true or not, the fact that there are rumors like this proves my point.  

 

Thoughts?


IMO people want an AMEX because it's a symbol of "I've made it"... I don’t particularly believe that Amex is the best of the best anymore but it's still upheld as a symbol of good credit.. When you see an Amex is a person’s wallet you usually think "they have good credit".. The zync card was kind of an exception to that rule because although it wasn't a subprime card, it definitely was the easiest Amex to obtain with some people being approved in the low 600's... I feel as if Amex is the "Mercedes Benz" of credit cards.. for some, it’s not so much about the perks you get from Amex as much as it is about being a "status symbol".. Everybody will view this differently but that’s just how I see it..

Message 2 of 62
Established Contributor

Re: What's with the AMEX Obsession?


@CreditHammer wrote:

@fittiger wrote:

I guess what I'm looking for is a rational discussion on why everyone is so obsessed with having an American Express product?  From reading many different users posts and reviews on the AMEX site itself, they seem to be a very finicky company to have to deal with.  If they were a person it they would come across as bi-polar.

 

I've seen numerous reports or concerns about:

 

*  Credit Limit Decreases for carrying a reasonable balance, even on 0% promotions

*  Credit Limit Decreases chasing a balance (meaning if you pay down a balance, they reduce the limit to just over that balance keeping UTIL high)

*  Financial Reviews for whatever reason

*  Customer Service disappointments (rude, foreign call centers, etc)

*  High AF on Charge Cards and some Revolvers (Other than credit building, I don't understand why anyone would want a charge card with an annual fee?????)

*  Less acceptance than VISA/MC

 

Granted, they do offer:

 

*  Significant CLI

*  Backdating

 

But, what's the obsession if everyone seems to always be on their toes fearing AA from AMEX?  It can't be the prestige factor anymore, I think you can get that from several other banks now.

 

I"m not against having an AMEX product, but I don't want to deal with worrying what AMEX thinks of my healthy spending/payment habits.  For example, I've heard rumor they don't like multiple montly payments.....or see increased risk with spending at discount stores.   Whether true or not, the fact that there are rumors like this proves my point.  

 

Thoughts?


IMO people want an AMEX because it's a symbol of "I've made it"... I don’t particularly believe that Amex is the best of the best anymore but it's still upheld as a symbol of good credit.. When you see an Amex is a person’s wallet you usually think "they have good credit".. The zync card was kind of an exception to that rule because although it wasn't a subprime card, it definitely was the easiest Amex to obtain with some people being approved in the low 600's... I feel as if Amex is the "Mercedes Benz" of credit cards.. for some, it’s not so much about the perks you get from Amex as much as it is about being a "status symbol".. Everybody will view this differently but that’s just how I see it..


Mercedes Benz of credit cards! haha! I have a Amex Plat Mercedes Benz edition.

anyway, I do agree with the above poster that it can be for some a sign of "I made it!", but my personal perspective is that it is jus another prime lender for me to take advantage of. They have a product that I find useful for a period of time. Factoring in sign up bonus, I decide its worth it for me and I go for it. When it not longer suits my needs, its much easier to cancel and amex becuase the next time they have a product/offer that suits my needs, I get backdated.

 

I would certainly never rely on Amex as my main lender or sole lender. I personally think everyone should have a relationship with each of the major banks that suits them esspecially, Chase, Discover, Amex, Citi, and BOA. This way you keep your options open when you need a particular financial product. And the relationship allows you to more easily take advantage of lucrative offers. Most people however are of the mantra that "credit cards are evil" and thus use mostly cash and debit, leaving tens of thousands of miles/points/cash back on the table every year.

 

Amex is bipolar and obviously its a YMMV thing, but while in the rebuilding process (which most new myfico's are in), amex is the "I've made it" card and tht 6% groceries on BCP is like a windfall, but once they get even more education into how to fully utilize their credit they graduate to more complex ways of thinking about their credit profile and utilizing their credit (and graduate from myfico too). Smiley Very Happy


DCU ( pulled 3/29/13) EQ04 683 | Amex (pulled 3/28/13) EX 760 | US Bank (pulled 3/28/13) EX 753
CreditKarma (4/19/13) TU-TR 701 | TU Vantage 788 | USAA FAKO (3/31/13) EX 728, EQ 699, TU 737 |
Inquiries (4/18/13) EX 13 | EQ 13 | TU 14
Message 3 of 62
Valued Member

Re: What's with the AMEX Obsession?

Years and years ago Amex products were the most sought after cards and very difficult to get. I think that stigma still lingers today. But in my opinion, quite frankly they suck as a creditor. I know you hear it all the time, that people pay their bills in full every month and Amex yanked the carpet out from under them by reducing credit lines or closing accounts that crushed scores.

 

They are ok for small balances carried for a short period of time, but that’s it. They reduced my CL from 24k to 11K. I got it up to 30K now. I’ve had the card since 2004. I will never charge more than a few hundred bucks during the course of the year with them. During the banking fiasco they were the only one to do this to me. Lucky for me this didn’t start a chain reaction as it did for countless others.

 

Amex is not what they used to be. Back in 2009 they called me to request some tax documents and I told them to buzz off. I don’t have time to mess around with a credit company that I don’t owe money to and to go pick on someone else, just because they were under pressure by the Feds to verify credit lines and reduce their exposure.

They mishandled it completely. I know of very few people that did not have some sort of contact with Amex during this period.  There should never be an obsession with Amex.  Those that are, need to reevaluate just how important their credit really is to them.  As far as I’m concerned it’s like having unsafe sex dealing with Amex. It’s going to happen, you just never know when.     

Message 4 of 62
Frequent Contributor

Re: What's with the AMEX Obsession?

its brand marketing at its best, AMEX is associated with good credit and wealth and some will even say its associated with "old money"

Amx BCE-25k,Amx Zync-NSPL
Barclay's Mastercard-13.5k
Credit Union Visa-1k
Discover-24k, Khols-2k
Message 5 of 62
Contributor

Re: What's with the AMEX Obsession?

"I made it.... and have been rewarded with 6% back at the grocery store!"...but the backdating is so extremely valuable, expecially if you got an AMEX card when you were young or were added as an AU.

Zync NPSL, BCP ($2000), Chase United ($2000) Chase Amazon ($1500), Chase Freedom ($3000), Discover More ($2000), Paypal Extras ($5000), Citi Forward ($2000), Orchard $2000, Amazon ($5000)
Pre-App Scores: TU98 779, TU04 797, EQ 682, EX 788 (Amex) 8/12
Message 6 of 62
Regular Contributor

Re: What's with the AMEX Obsession?

The most commonly said advantages of an Amex is the backdating and ease to get CLI. These because less attractive as your credit history grows and matures.

My history is around 14 years now with an AAoA of around 7 so a brand new card without backdating doesn't hurt as much as someone with a 3 year, 1.2 year AAoA.

Also as your income increases so does your spending power. Cards with age and mature with you so you don't need to rely on a 3x CLI.

I think that the 3x CLI is a good thing but also a negative. In the past you had to show that you earned a larger line by responsible usage and payment. Now it just seems like you need to hold the card for 61 days and you're good.
My Cards
American Express Blue | American Express Premier Rewards Gold | Chase Amazon | Chase Freedom | Chase Sapphire Preferred | Chase United Explorer | Chase United MileagePlus Club | JPMorgan Palladium

Message 7 of 62
Frequent Contributor

Re: What's with the AMEX Obsession?

i would also like to add too, you gotta take the source of your info into account, im sure you are dealing w/ a very small subset of amex customers on these forums, and the people here do not necessarily represent the avg consumer and we all know you can't believe everything you read on the internet and i have found myself questioning the validity of some claims on these boards.

Amx BCE-25k,Amx Zync-NSPL
Barclay's Mastercard-13.5k
Credit Union Visa-1k
Discover-24k, Khols-2k
Message 8 of 62
Moderator Emeritus

Re: What's with the AMEX Obsession?

The forum population and on some other similar boards are extreme outliers on the bell curve.

 

For the vast majority of individuals, myself included, Amex is just fine.  It's unlikely I'm going to get whacked with an FR, I don't carry a balance anyway, and apparently (tinfoil hat time) enough of my transactions are of sufficient "quality" that my internal risk calculation is anecdotally fine.

 

The brand does matter in some transactions.  As a whole they're in the top 2 companies for credit card products in my estimation (Chase being the other), and between charge cards and the CLI practices you can accomplish incredibly useful things while being credit "challenged."

 

To paraphrase a NASA official recently, backdating is just frosting on the cake, but it's a pretty good cake to begin with.

 

Edit and PS: AF's aren't a problem if they're justifiable, namely if spend X through one card with $95 AF results in >$95 more cash value rewards than the same spend through a second card with $0 AF, I'll take the AF.

 




        
Message 9 of 62
Valued Contributor

Re: What's with the AMEX Obsession?

I don't want an AMEX and never have.  I'm happy with the rewards I get on my cards with no fees.  And I like having cards that are easy to use in other countries, since I travel frequently.

EX:694 TU:744 EQ:777
Amex ED $19.5k - BoA Travel Rewards $15k - CSP $5k - SDFCU EMV $15k - NFCU goRewards $20k - Barclays Arrival $6.5k
Message 10 of 62
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